Could the two-month truce open the door to ending the Saudi war on Yemen?
After the truce ends on June 2, speculation is rife as to whether it can be extended or a new phase of warfare will begin
Yemeni warring parties agreed to a two-month humanitarian and military truce brokered by the UN that took effect April 2, raising questions about whether the ceasefire can end the Saudi war against Yemen.
The ceasefire continues despite tens of daily military violations by Saudi-backed forces and the coalition's ongoing refusal to reopen Sanaa airport and lift restrictions on the port of Hodeidah under the terms of the truce.
During the ceasefire, Saudi Arabia took the opportunity to reorganize the ranks of its Yemeni mercenaries, forming what is called the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) after dismissing Hadi and his vice president Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmer.
The PLC established by Saudi Arabia now is working from the southern city of Aden. This raises doubts about whether Saudi Arabia is serious about ending the war or whether it is just using the ceasefire to unite its Yemeni mercenaries and prepare them for a new phase of the war with Ansar Allah.
Adel Hamoud Al-Hamadani, an employee at Sanaa Radio said, "Saudi Arabia is preparing for war with Ansar Allah by establishing the PLC".
"There is no transparency. They say they want peace, but in reality, they are preparing for a new phase of the war", Al-Hamadani told Al Mayadeen English.
Saudi Arabia has appointed Rashad Al-Alimi as chairman of the PLC, which includes eight deputies, most of them military commanders such as Sultan Al-Aradah, Tareq Saleh, Aidarous Al-Zubaidi, and Faraj Salemin Al-Bahssani.
By forming the PLC, Al-Hamadani says Saudi Arabia publicly wants the council to "negotiate with Ansar Allah to end the war peacefully, but secretly it is preparing for war".
Seriousness to end the war!
It is not yet clear whether Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, key partners in the Saudi-led coalition, are serious about ending the war in Yemen by agreeing to the ceasefire.
"I think Saudi Arabia wants to coexist with Ansar Allah because it lost a lot in the seven years of war", Al-Hamadani said, pointing out, however, that the Saudis and the UAE "benefited from the war by stealing our oil and gas resources".
Asked what comes after the ceasefire ends, he said, "I think they will involve us in a game of extending the ceasefire for another two or four months, then the war will inevitably resume".
Nabil Al-Ameri, a political analyst, said, "If the ceasefire is not extended, we will go down the old path of war".
"I hope that there will be an extension of the ceasefire followed by a new phase of negotiations to end the war, rather than followed by a new phase of the war", Al-Ameri told Al Mayadeen English.
This is the six week since the UN-brokered ceasefire went into effect on April 2, but the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has yet to implement some of the ceasefire's provisions like reopening Sanaa's airport and easing restrictions on the port of Hodeidah.
During the two-month ceasefire, 16 commercial flights were scheduled to operate to and from Sanaa airport to Egypt and Jordan, and 18 fuel ships were scheduled to enter Hodeidah port.
At the time of writing this, no flight has been operated to or from Sanaa Airport. The first flight was scheduled to take place on April 24, but the coalition of aggression canceled it because some passengers had Sanaa government-issued passports, not Saudi government-backed issued passports.
"We are still being usurped by Saudi Arabia. It thinks it owns the sovereignty of Yemen. But it should understand that we, as Yemenis, own our freedom and decision," Al-Ameri said.
"I think the truce is a good thing, but its consequences - if it is not extended - will be very bad for Yemen", Al-Ameri told Al Mayadeen English.
'Door to ending the Saudi war'
During the truce, Saudi Arabia formed PLC, seen by some Yemenis as a council to negotiate with Ansar Allah, while others view it as a council to wage war against Ansar Allah.
"The presidential council cannot fight Ansar Allah alone, but only with the support of the Saudis, the UAE, the U.S, and Israel", Al-Ameri told Al Mayadeen English.
David Ali Al-Saidi, an employee at a clothing shop in Sanaa, said he "hopes there will be peace after the ceasefire ends".
"I hope the PLC can agree with Ansar Allah to end the war instead of being a tool for Saudi Arabia to continue its war against Yemen," Al-Saidi said.
He added, "I hope it can be a peace council, not a war council. War is not in the interest of Yemen and Yemenis".
"I hope the council established by Saudi Arabia can open a door to end the Saudi war on Yemen. But information shows that Saudi Arabia is not interested in peace in Yemen. It wants Yemen to be at war to dominate it", Al-Saidi told Al Mayadeen English.
We do not want war after the ceasefire, Al-Saidi said, we hope peace can be achieved and the international community should exert pressure on Saudi Arabia to withdraw from Yemen and let Yemenis decide their own destiny.
Abdul-Malek Al-Durrah, a citizen, said, "I do not think there will be peace after the truce; only war".
"Show me one country where the UN was able to end the war. Their presence is frequently the spark that ignites conflicts escalating into wars," Al-Durrah told Al Mayadeen English.
"Saudi Arabia is not serious about ending the war in Yemen," Al-Durrah said. "During the ceasefire, it formed a PLC to fight Ansar Allah on behalf of Saudi Arabia, just as the U.S. formed the Saudi Arabia-led coalition to fight in Yemen".
"The Saudi-formed PLC was born dead," added Al-Durrah. "The council cannot bring victory for Saudi Arabia because it is composed of commanders that have been defeated several times by Ansar Allah during the past decade, starting with Othman Mujalli and ending with Tareq Saleh, nephew of late president Ali Saleh".
"Therefore, a new phase of the war is coming after the truce", Al-Durrah told Al Mayadeen English while standing near a newsstand in Tahrir Square in Sanaa. "The truce won’t end the Saudi war as long as Saudi Arabia still closes Sanaa Airport".